State Parks: Crater of Diamonds, Arkansas

author image

February 23, 2009

I was inspired to learn more about this unique site after watching an episode of “18 Kids and Counting” on TLC a few weeks ago, wherein the Duggar family visits the park to dig for diamonds. Please chime in with comments to share useful information or tell about your experience visiting the area!

Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas is the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public. It covers 37 acres of plowed land, the remnants of a volcanic pipe eroded down to surface level.

Owner John Huddleston found the first diamond here in 1906 when it was part of his farm. The land has changed hands many times and several failed mining ventures have been attempted. The State of Arkansas bought the land in 1972 to establish the state park.

common diamond colors found at crater of diamonds state parkThe three most common diamond colors found (in order) are white, brown and yellow. More than 40 different rocks and minerals can be found in the park, including amethyst, garnet and quartz.

After having your stone identified at the Diamond Discovery Center, you can have your diamonds weighed and certified at no charge. However, the park staff is not trained nor equipped to estimate the value of your find. But they are happy to provide you with a list of diamond cutters, who will be able to price your diamond upon examination (a diamond’s value is based primarily on its ability to be cut, with color and clarity as secondary factors).

What to Bring: You can bring your own trowels, shovels or buckets from home or you can rent various equipment at the Diamond Discovery Center for a small fee plus security deposit. You cannot use equipment that has a battery, motor or wheels on it.

Admission, Fees & Operating Hours: Entrance to the park for diamond digging is $7.00 adult, $4.00 child (age 6-12) and free for children under age 6. Admission is good for the whole day and you can come and go as you please. The park accepts cash, personal check and Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. The nearest ATM is two miles up S.R. 301 in the town of Murfreesboro. The visitor center and Diamond Discovery Center are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Saturday. See the PDF of full facility hours

Pets: Pets are welcome at all sites within the park except for Diamond Springs Water Park and the Kimberlite Café. Animals must be on a leash and under your control at all times.

park guide instructs visitors digging for diamondsMiscellaneous Info:
Make sure to wear old boots or shoes! Since the digging site is a loose dirt field, you will be getting dirty (especially if the ground is moist). Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

Ice and firewood are available at the visitor center. The gift shop sells a variety of souvenirs and novelty items as well as snacks and drinks. The Kimberlite Café serves breakfast and lunch.

While you’re in the area, visit Daisy State Park (a short drive north from Murfreesboro) to enjoy fishing, boating and swimming on Lake Greeson and the Little Missouri River. There is also a multi-use trail for ATVs, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and hikers.

campers at daisy state parkCamping Info: A number of campgrounds located nearby (many of them along Lake Greeson) offers you flexibility in where to stay. Here are two to get your trip planning started.

Crater of Diamonds State Park: 59 paved sites ($17 per night), each with water and electrical (20/30 amp) hookups. Some shaded sites, back-ins are 30’x55’. There are two bath houses with restrooms and hot showers. A laundry facility is available and the dump station is located at the campground entrance. For more information call 870-285-3113.

Daisy State Park: 26 Class A sites ($21 per night) and 56 Class B sites ($17 per night) each with full hookups. The B sites have showers, dump stations and 30 amp service. Class A sites have 50 amp service. For more information call 870-398-4487.

Images courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Leave a Reply


  1. Pingback: cięcie laserem

  2. Ron

    Campground was closed most of last year,,It’s now open withfull hook-ups.

    Heading there in early Nov. This will be our third trip. First two were a bust for diamonds, but met a ton of great people from all over the U.S.. There’s a great resturant in town that will blow your mind, specially if you are a razorback fan.

    If you’re there and seean older gent with a floppy straw hat, he just mite be the champion gem finder in the world. He is very free with info on how and where to find gems. I had a great time talking with him. Lots o stories about his finds.

  3. steve

    We were there last summer and found a nice yellow diamond about 1/4 carat size. Funny thing is, after all the sifting and digging, the stone was found on the surface while leaving. The week before a 7 year old found a yellow 3 carat, again just meandering around. I talked with one not to be identified employee who said there is over 90 percent of what the volcano brought to the surface still to be found. He said in his experience most all of the large diamonds are found by just walking around after a rain or a plowing.

  4. Last year my girlfriend and I plus 3 kids all went to the Crater of Diamonds State Park and stayed there for a week in a class B conversion van RV. It rained 3 out of the 5 days (March) and we were covered from head to toe with mud each day as we went to the field to hunt for diamonds. The funniest thing I heard while walking through the thick clay mud was when a mom yelled at her kid and said “stay out of the mud!” I looked around me (mud everywhere) and started laughing – come on lady – its been raining for 3 days – no dry land anywhere!
    Although we didn’t find diamonds, we went to the Indian mound site in Murfreesboro and the kids were able to buy buckets of dirt which was laden with semiprecious simulated stones and rocks, agates, quartz, amethyst, tiger eyes, and they had a blast. My 6 year old grand daughter asked me the other day “when can we go back.” Of course she loved the mud, and I’ve got pictures of her with mud up to her shoulders and hips and her shoes floating in a mud “pond” that she made. I’m thinking our diamond was probably in the bottom of that pond!
    I couldn’t handle the sieves due to upper arm weakness from a neurological disease. So I had to sit on a gardeners pad and use a hand shovel to scoop up dirt and sift through it where I sat. I was able to find some nice clear quartz in various shapes and sizes. I recommend buying the book at the bookstore at the Indian mound site unless its available in the park’s book store – that shows what the diamonds actually look like as they are taken out of the ground – the visual aids at the park are ok, but the book is much clearer. If you love outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty, you’ll love this park.

  5. Don Bittle

    If you’re interested in this sort of thing (and it IS good for you and the kids), watch Kersten Gum Treasure Hunter on the Travel Channel. There are many places around the US where you can look for about any mineral you want.And it fits the camping lifestyle perfectly.
    Also check out Rock and Gem magazine.

  6. Michelle

    My daughter and I visited Crater of Diamonds last year and stayed at a great hotel called “Queen of Diamonds”. We dug for most of the day and found nothing, but it was FUN! They told us they haven’t had a diamond find in 3 days and they were due. If a diamond is found, they ring a bell. We did see a small child get stuck in the mud around the sluicing area. The mom came over to pick him up and he lost both shoes in the deep mud. The next thing you know, Mom is stuck in the mud and had to walk out of her shoes to get out of the mud. We went in August and it was HOT!! Take plenty of drinks with you. This year we are off to Franklin, NC to do some gem mining!

  7. Mark & Kay Ulm

    Kay and I were there a couple years ago. The chances of striking it rich are slim but it’s fun to try. A week after we got home , we say on the news that someone found a big one.
    The campground is a short walk to the diamond field and it is beautiful .
    Now if you want to dig , go an hour or two North to Mt. Ida , Ark. which is called the Crystal Capital of the World. There are a number of private mines near the town where you can dig in the tailings for $20 per person/day. Last year we dug three days at three different mines and brought home over 100 lbs. of quarts crystals.
    Probably about $500 retail. Hard work and really dirty but we had a blast.
    There are several great Army Corp. campgrounds on the water nearby , between Mt. Ida and Hot Springs..

  8. You can take up to 5 lbs of sifted rock (no dirt) a day with you to look threw at home. Been there three times, like has been said it can be hard work

  9. Don Bittle

    2 people, us, spend 4 days there engaged in hard labor that you couldn’t pay us to do. Found nada. But, we had fun, will go back, campground was great, will take grandsons.
    To show you how fickle luck is, one of the largest diamonds found last year was “found” when a kid threw a dirt clod at another dirt clod (after being told not to by his ma) and busted out a nice diamond!
    Try to come up with your own sifters. Theirs get pretty expensive if you go back repeatedly.
    Also, read their website tips on how to find diamonds.

  10. Stevie Duvaldadrian

    My husband and I took my only granddaughter to Crater of Diamonds State Park last August. The day we arrived it was in the high 90’s and there were postings all over the park about how hot it could get out in the field. So, we opted to wait a day even though rain was predicted for the next day, we decided the rain would be better than the hot sun. After all, how long could it possibly rain:) We arrived to a downpour that lasted pretty much all day , found no diamonds but plenty of mud. However, we had so much fun just trying to walk through that mucky muddy field that I would do it again at the drop of a hat. The whole day was worth it just to witness my 12 year old granddaughter up to her calves in mud. My husband even had to dig her out one time so she wouldn’t lose her shoe. The look on her face…..priceless! Just don’t go expecting to walk out a millionaire.

  11. agesilaus

    That’s true, I didn’t mean to say that it wasn’t worth visiting. You should have a good time.

    If you enjoy this sort of thing then Arkansas has some areas where you will find treasures. Around Mt Ida and Hot Springs there are all sorts of quartz mines where you can dig for a small fee and you will come away with some fabulous quartz crystals. Wear very old clothes and shoes since you will probably want to discard them after you are done however.

  12. Genevieve

    My sister took her kids there last summer and they had a fantastic time. Nobody found diamonds, it’s true – but the experience and the fun was a good time for their family. The summer before that they went panning for gold and though they didn’t find gold either, the kids won’t stop talking about both of these trips. I think the bottom line is that the kids just enjoyed being adventurous and doing something out of the ordinary. They came back with some dull rocks, and you would have thought they were diamonds, the way they treasured what they found!

  13. agesilaus

    I haven’t been there but the park is frequently discussed on Rockhound lists. You should wear old clothes not just old shoes since you will get very dirty. I have the idea that the ground is covered with sticky clay not normal soil.

    If you find one diamond that should be a pleasant surprise since most people go away without finding one. That photo of a handfull of diamonds is totally misleading. There are people who spend weeks at a time there and who may find a couple a week from what I’ve heard. And they are very organized with shovels, buckets and sieves. Most of the diamonds are not worth much money.